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&DTG 


RULEBOOK 


Table of Contents 


3 Introduction 

3 Object of the Game 

3 Contents 

4 The Cards 

4 Game Setup 

5 Playing the Game 

5 Ante 

6 Flights 

6 Sequence of Play 

7 Triggering Powers 

7 Acquiring New Cards 

7 Maximum Hand Size 

8 The Deck 

8 Ending the Gambit 

8 Winning the Game 

9 Additional Rules 

9 Dragon God Abilities 

9 Special Flights 

1 1 Running Out of Gold 

1 2 Expanded Power Explanations 

12 The Archmage 

13 Bahamut 

13 Black Dragon 

13 Blue Dragon 

13 Brass Dragon 

14 Bronze Dragon 

14 Copper Dragon 

14 Dracolich 


15 The Dragonslayer 

15 The Druid 

15 The Fool 

15 Green Dragon 

16 Gold Dragon 

16 The Priest 

16 The Princess 

17 Red Dragon 

17 Silver Dragon 

17 The Thief 

18 Tiamat 

18 White Dragon 

18 Three-Dragon Ante 

in Your D&D Campaign 

19 The Vernacular 

19 The Stakes & Victory 

19 Special Abilities 

20 Bluff 

20 Concentration 

20 Diplomacy 

20 Intimidate 

20 Profession (Gambler) 

21 Sense Motive 

21 Slight of Hand 

21 Wild Card 

21 Glossary 
23 Questions? 

23 Credits 

24 Play Summary 


2 


Introduction 

Regdar considered his cards: two Gold Dragons , a weak Red Dragon , a Black Dragon , 
and the Thief. Winning the stakes outright looked unlikely. Better to play the two 
Gold Dragons and hope they could provide him with the third Gold to make a color 
flight. If that didn’t work , he could then finish with the Thief and at least come away 
with his ante. Decent odds. 

He took another swig of ale and pretended to think about his ante card while he 
considered the other four players at the table. There was: a sweating merchant nearly 
out of gold, a young sailor nursing a headache from the night before, his comrade 
Lidda half-hidden behind her stacks of gold coins despite standing on a chair, and 
a bitter old guard captain who seemed to be a regular at the tavern. Two hopeless 
weaklings, one good friend who’ d won most of the money, and one frustrated loser of a 
guard captain. Also good odds. 

Regdar anted the Black Dragon and let loose a roaring laugh. He couldn’t 
tell which he was happiest about: the chance that he’d draw another Gold Dragon or 
the chance that the captain would try to take some of his losses back from Lidda. 

Three-Dragon Ante™ is the card game played in taverns and gambling 
parlors throughout the Dungeons & Dragons 8 world. The first part of this 
book explains the rules of the game. On page 18, you’ll find rules for adding 
Three-Dragon Ante to your D&D 8 campaign. 

Object of the Game 

Have the most gold in your hoard when one player runs out of gold and the 
game ends. 

Contents 

• 70 playing cards 

• 2 reference cards 

• 24-page rulebook 


3 


The Cards 

Each Three-Dragon Ante card represents a dragon or a mortal in the 
Dungeons & Dragons world. Each card has four key elements. 



Type tells you what kind of card it is, whether 
good, evil, or mortal. All cards except mortal cards are dragons. 


Strength is a card’s value. The weakest 
cards have strength 1, and the strongest 
have strength 13. 


Name describes the dragon or mortal the v 
card represents. For most dragons, the 
name also tells you what color the dragon isN 


Power is a card’s ability. A card’s power 
may take effect when it’s played. 


Game Setup 

Each player starts the game with 50 gold coins in his or her hoard. Players’ 
hoards remain visible throughout the game, and each player must reveal 
how much gold he or she has if asked. 

One player shuffles the deck, and each player draws a hand of six cards. 
Cards in hand should be kept hidden from the other players. 


Gold 

In the D&D world, Three-Dragon Ante is played with stacks of gold 
coins. If you don’t have any gold lying around, use poker chips or 
coins instead. To keep the stakes and players’ hoards manageable, 
use different colored chips or denominations of coins. The following 
combination of chips or coins works well: 

10 chips worth 1 gold each (or 10 pennies) 

4 chips worth 5 gold each (or 4 nickels) 

2 chips worth 10 gold each (or 2 dimes) 


4 


Playing the Game 

The game is played in a series of gambits. A gambit comprises three or more 
rounds, in which players take turns. During a gambit, each player puts gold 
into the stakes and then plays cards to see who will win the stakes. As each 
card is played, its power can affect the outcome of the gambit. 



At the start of a gambit, players must determine who will start play in the first 
round and what the stakes are. To do this, each player chooses one card in his 
or her hand and puts it face down in the center of the table. These are the 
ante cards. Once all players have chosen ante cards, reveal them. When an 
ante card is revealed, ignore its power text. 

The ante cards determine which player will start play in the first round. 
The player who revealed the ante card with the highest strength (ignoring 
any ante cards with the same strength as at least one other ante card) is the 
leader. The leader will take the first turn in the first round of the gambit. 

The ante card with the highest strength (including any ante cards with the 
same strength as any other ante cards) determines how much gold players 
pay to the stakes. Each player takes that amount of gold from his or her hoard 
and puts it in the middle of the table. If, at any time, no gold remains in the 


5 



stakes, the gambit ends immediately (see Ending the Gambit, page 8). 

(For example, if Regdar and Tordek each reveal a strength-9 ante card and Lidda 
reveals a strength-7 ante card in a three-player game, Lidda becomes the leader in the 
first round of the gambit. Then each pays 9 gold to the stakes .) 

Ante cards remain face up in the center of the table for the rest of the 
gambit. They’re not part of the stakes. 


All Tied Up? 

When players reveal their ante cards at the start of the gambit, if each 
ante card ties with at least one other ante card, discard those ante cards. 
Then each player draws a card and chooses a new ante card from his 
or her hand. 


Flights 

The group of cards a player plays face up on the table is called a flight. Each 
round, when a player plays a card, it’s added to his or her flight and placed 
to the right of the last card he or she played. Flights stay face up on the table 
until the end of the gambit. 

The player who has a flight of cards with the highest total strength has the 
strongest flight. A player with the lowest total has the weakest flight. More 
than one player can have the strongest or weakest flight. 

Sequence of Play 

To start each round, the leader takes the first turn and plays a card to his or 
her flight. When the card is played, its power triggers and that player follows 
the instructions on the card. (For how powers work, see Expanded Power 
Explanations, page 12.) 

Then, the player to the leader’s left takes the next turn. That player plays 
a card to his or her flight and checks to see if the card’s power triggers, 
following the directions on the card. Play continues to the left until every 
player has taken a turn, then the round ends. 

The player who has the card with the highest strength (ignoring tied 
cards) becomes the leader for the next round. If all cards played in a round 
tie with at least one other card played in that round, the current round’s 
leader is also the leader for the next round. 


6 


The gambit usually ends after three rounds, with victory going to the 
player with the strongest flight. If any players tie for the strongest flight, 
keep playing rounds until someone wins the gambit (see Ending the 
Gambit, page 8). 

Triggering Powers 

When the leader plays a card, its power always triggers. On other players’ 
turns, a card’s power triggers only if the card’s strength is less than or equal 
to the strength of the card the previous player played this round. 

(For example , if Lidda played a strength-5 card, the power of Tor delis card will 
only trigger if it’s strength 5 or less.) 

If a power affects more than one player, the player whose turn it is follows 
the directions on the card. Then the player to his or her left does the same, 
and so on, until all affected players have done so. 

Acquiring New Cards 

There are three ways to get more cards in the game. 

• Players draw two cards at the end of each gambit 
(see Ending the Gambit, page 8). 

• Players gain cards when certain card powers trigger. 

• Players buy cards. 

At the start of a player’s turn, if that player has only one card in hand, 
he or she must buy new cards. During any turn, if any player has no cards in 
hand, that player must immediately buy new cards. 

To buy new cards, a player first discards the top card of the deck and pays 
that card’s strength in gold to the stakes. Then that player draws cards from 
the deck until his or her hand contains four cards. 

Maximum Hand Size 

A player can’t have more than ten cards in his or her hand at any time. As 
soon as a player has ten cards in his or her hand, that player can no longer 
draw cards from the deck or take them from the ante or from other players. 
If a triggered power would allow this, that player ignores that part of the 
power once he or she reaches ten cards. 

(For example, ifRegdar has nine cards in his hand and a triggered power makes 
him draw three cards, he only draws one card.) 


7 


At the end of the gambit, a player with nine cards draws only one card; 
a player with ten draws none (see Ending the Gambit, below). 

The Deck 

When the deck runs out of cards, shuffle the discard pile to form a new deck. 
Do this as often as needed until the end of the game. 

Ending the Gambit 

The gambit ends when, after three rounds of play, only one player has the 
strongest flight at the end of a round (or the weakest flight if the Druid was 
played in this gambit). Although it happens rarely, any time no gold remains 
in the stakes the gambit ends immediately. 

A round that ends with two or more players tied for the strongest flight 
requires the gambit to continue for another round. 

When a gambit ends, the player with the strongest flight wins the 
stakes — that player takes all the gold in the stakes and adds it to his or her 
hoard. Each player discards his or her flight and ante cards (but not cards in 
hand). Then each player draws two cards (without exceeding the ten-card 
limit). Keep playing gambits until someone wins the game. 

Winning the Game 

The game ends when at least one player’s hoard is empty at the end of any 
gambit. The winner is the player with the most gold. 


Optional Rules 

If all players agree, you can try one or more of these optional rules, 

or create your own. 

• The game ends when only a set number of players — such as 
two — remain in the game. 

• Play until one player has at least a set amount of gold at the end 
of a gambit. 

• Play a set number of gambits — such as five or ten — for a shorter game. 

• Set a time limit for the game, then play one final gambit after 
reaching that time lim it. 

• Start with a different amount of gold. 


8 


Additional Rules 

Dragon God Abilities 

Each of the dragon god cards, Bahamut and Tiamat, has a unique ability 
(in red) that’s in effect as long as it’s in a flight. Dragon god abilities are not 
powers, so they’re in effect whether or not the card has a higher strength 
than the card the previous player played. (Bahamut also has a power that 
triggers normally.) Cards that copy other cards’ powers ignore dragon 
god abilities. 


Good or Evil? 

If you play only evil dragons, you’ll eventually run out of cards and 
need to buy new ones. If you play only good dragons, you’ll avoid 
needing to buy new cards — but you won’t pick up as much gold 
from plundering the stakes. 


Special Flights 

Players can earn extra gold by having three or more similar dragons in a 
flight. A color flight has three dragons of the same color. A strength flight 
has three dragons of the same strength. A player completes a special flight 
on the turn the third matching dragon is played. The player follows the 
directions of all powers that trigger on that turn, then checks to see if he or 
she has completed a special flight. 

When a player completes a color flight, each opponent pays that player 
gold equal to the strength of the second-strongest dragon in the flight. 

(For example , ifTordek has a color flight of three Gold Dragons — of strengths 2, 6, 
and 11 — Lidda and Regdar each pay him 6 gold.) 

When a player completes a strength flight, that player steals gold equal to 
the strength of one of those dragons from the stakes. That player also takes 
as many ante cards from the center of the table as he or she can and adds 
them to his or her hand (up to the hand-size limit of ten). 

(For example, if Lidda has eight cards in her hand and completes a strength flight 
of three strength-5 dragons, she steals 5 gold from the stakes and adds any two of the 
remaining ante cards from the center of the table to her hand.) 


9 


Most often, special flights will happen when a player plays the third 
dragon of the same color or strength. Triggered powers, however, can cause 
the cards in a player’s flight to change. When this change completes a special 
flight, that player collects gold for that special flight just as if he or she had 
played those dragons. 

(For example , ifRegdar has two Silver Dragons and he plays a Copper Dragon 
whose power triggers , he’ll earn a color flight if the top card of the deck is a 
Silver Dragon.) 

Very rarely, gambits go on for more than three rounds (see Ending the 
Gambit, page 8). In a gambit that lasts five or more rounds, it’s possible 
for one player to complete a color flight and strength flight — even at the 
same time! 

(For example, Regdar’s flight includes a strength-3 Silver Dragon, a strength-8 
Silver Dragon, a strength-6 Bronze Dragon, and a strength-6 White Dragon. If 
Regdar plays a strength-6 Silver Dragon as his fifth card, he’ll complete both a color 
flight — three Silver Dragons — and a strength flight — three strength-6 dragons — in 
the same turn.) 

If a player completes both a color flight and a strength flight during the 
same turn, he or she collects gold for completing the color flight first. Each 
player can’t complete more than one of each color flight and one of each 
strength flight in a gambit. 


— 1 1 

How to Get Rich 

There are three ways to increase your hoard. 

• Win Gambits: Play high-strength cards, make the strongest flight, 
and win the stakes. If you don’t have high-strength cards, play good 
dragons to get more cards into your hand. The more cards you have, ' 
the better your chances are of getting stronger cards. 

• Steal Gold: Play evil dragons to steal gold from the stakes and from 
other players. 

• Play Special Flights: Play three dragons of the same color or the 
same strength to earn gold from your opponents or the stakes. 


10 


Running Out of Gold 

If a player runs out of gold in the middle of a gambit, he or she continues to 
play. If his or her hoard is empty at the end of a gambit, that player is out of 
the game and the game ends. 

If a player must pay an opponent or the stakes more gold than he or she 
has, that player goes into debt. Whenever a player owes more gold than 
remains in his or her hoard, that player pays as much gold as he or she can 
and goes into debt for the remaining amount. Keep track of the amount of 
each player’s debts, the order in which a player’s debts were incurred, and to 
whom each debt is owed. 

As soon as a player in debt earns any gold, that player must use it to repay 
as much of his or her oldest debt as possible. After a player’s oldest debt is 
fully repaid, any gold that player has earned goes toward his or her second- 
oldest debt, and so on. 

The winner of the gambit ignores any debts he or she owes to the stakes. 
If that player has no gold in his or her hoard after repaying all other debts 
owed (or can’t repay them), he or she is out of the game and the game ends. 


Bookkeeping 

If you’re keeping track of each player’s gold at the end of a game or 
using optional rules that allow the game to continue after a player is 
knocked out, you might run into trouble when a player owes a debt he 
or she can’t repay. A debt owed to you by a knocked-out player doesn’t 
count toward the amount of gold in your hoard. 

Characters in the D&D world, however, would likely ask for an IOU. 


11 


Deck List 





m 1 

Card Name Strength 

Card Name Strength 

Card Name 

Strength 

The Archmage.... 

...9 

Copper Dragon .... 

...1 

Red Dragon 

2 

Bahamut 

13 


...3 


3 

j Black Dragon 

...1 


...5 


5 


...2 


...7 


8 


...3 


...8 


10 


...5 


10 


12 


...7 

Dracolich 

10 

Silver Dragon.., 

2 


...9 

The Dragonslayer 

...8 


3 

Blue Dragon 

...1 

The Druid 

...6 


6 




...3 


8 


...4 

Gold Dragon 

...2 


10 


...J 


...4 


12 


....9 


...6 

The Thief. 

7 


11 


...9 

Tiamat 

13 

Brass Dragon 

....1 


11 

White Dragon , 

1 


....2 


13 


2 


....4 

Green Dragon 

...1 


3 


....5 


...2 


4 


7 


...4 


6 1 


....9 


...6 


8 

Bronze Dragon.... 

....1 


...8 




....3 


10 




....6 

The Priest 

...5 




....7 

The Princess 

...4 




....9 






. 11 






Expanded Power Explanations 

If you’re not sure what happens when a specific card’s power triggers, you 
can look it up here. Keep in mind that the leader’s power always triggers, and 
that each other card’s power triggers only if the card’s strength is less than or 
equal to the strength of the last card played. 


12 


The Archmage 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. Copy the power of an ante card. 

Follow the directions of the chosen ante card’s power (regardless of that 


card’s strength) as if it were the Archmage’s power. The Archmage’s strength, 
name, and type remain the same. This power ignores the dragon god abilities 
of Bahamut and Tiamat (but it does copy Bahamut’ s power). 

When this power copies Brass Dragon, the Dragonslayer, or Green 
Dragon’s power, use the Archmage’s strength of 9 to determine whether a 
dragon is weaker or stronger than the Archmage. 

If no ante cards remain, you still pay 1 gold to the stakes but the second 
part of the Archmage’s power has no effect. 

Bahamut 

Each other player with both good and evil dragons in the same flight pays you 10 gold. 
Dragon God — As long as you have Bahamut and an evil dragon in your flight, you 
can’t win the gambit. 

Bahamut’s power triggers normally. Bahamut’s dragon god ability is always 
in effect. 

Black Dragon 

Steal 2 gold from the stakes. 

If only 1 gold remains in the stakes, steal it. Emptying the stakes ends the 
gambit (see Ending the Gambit, page 8). 

Blue Dragon 

Choose one: Steal 1 gold from the stakes for each evil dragon in your flight; or each 
opponent pays that much gold to the stakes. 

Include this dragon when counting how many evil dragons you have in 
your flight. You choose which of this power’s effects to apply. 

If the stakes have fewer gold than you have evil dragons, steal all 
remaining gold in the stakes. Emptying the stakes ends the gambit 
(see Ending the Gambit, page 8). 

Brass Dragon 

The opponent with the strongest flight chooses either to give you a stronger good 
dragon from his or her hand or to pay you 5 gold. 

This power ignores the strength of your flight. If two or more opponents 
tie for the strongest flight, you choose which of those players this power 
affects. That player chooses whether he or she gives you a dragon or 5 gold. 


13 


If the opponent gives you a dragon, reveal it so all players can see that it’s a 
stronger good dragon. 

If the player chooses to give you 5 gold but doesn’t have that much, he or 
she may go into debt as necessary to pay you. 

Bronze Dragon 

Put the two weakest ante cards into your hand. 

If only one ante card remains, put it into your hand if you can. 

When this power triggers, if you have nine cards in your hand, choose the 
two weakest ante cards, add one to your hand, then return the other to the 
ante. If you have ten cards, this power has no effect. 

If any cards tie for the two weakest ante cards, choose any one of the 
weakest cards, then choose any one of the remaining weakest cards. 

Copper Dragon 

Discard this card and replace it with the top card of the deck. That card’s power 
triggers regardless of its strength. 

When this power triggers, ignore Copper Dragon’s strength; it’s not part 
of your flight and doesn’t affect whether or not the next player’s power 
triggers. Instead, the card from the deck is considered the card you played 
this turn — use it to determine the total strength of your flight and whether 
or not the next player’s card’s power triggers. 

If the card from the deck is a Copper Dragon, its power triggers and it’s 
replaced by the new top card of the deck. 

Copper Dragon doesn’t complete a color flight or strength flight before 
it’s discarded. At the end of your turn, if any new cards complete a color 
flight or strength flight you haven’t already collected gold for in this gambit, 
collect gold for that special flight. 

Dracolich 

Copy the power of an evil dragon in any flight. 

Follow the directions of the chosen evil dragon’s power (regardless of that 
card’s strength) as if it were Dracolich’s power. Dracolich’s strength, name, 
and type remain the same. 

When this power copies Green Dragon’s power, the opponent to your left 
must give you an evil dragon with strength 9 or less or pay you 5 gold. 


14 


This power ignores Tiamat’s dragon god ability. Tiamat has no power 
to copy. 

If there are no other evil dragons in any flight, Dracolich’s power has 
no effect. 

The Dragonslayer 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. Discard a weaker dragon from any flight. 

Discard a weaker dragon — strength 7 or less — if one is in any flight, 
even your own. 

A player whose dragon was discarded by this power will have one less 
dragon in his or her flight during this gambit. If that player played the 
discarded dragon this round, ignore that player when comparing card 
strengths to determine the next round’s leader. 

If there are no weaker dragons in any flight, you still pay 1 gold to the 
stakes but the second part of the Dragonslayer’s power has no effect. 

The Druid 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. The player with the weakest flight wins the gambit instead 
of the player with the strongest flight. 

If two flights tie for the weakest flight after three rounds, play additional 
rounds until only one player’s flight is the weakest at the end of a round. 

The Fool 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. Draw a card for each player with a flight stronger than yours. 
Include this mortal when determining the strength of your flight. 

If no opponent has a flight stronger than yours, pay 1 gold to the stakes but 
don’t draw any cards. (The second part of the power has no effect in that case.) 

You can draw cards only until you have ten cards in your hand 
(see Maximum Hand Size, page 7). 

Green Dragon 

The opponent to your left chooses either to give you a weaker evil dragon from his or 
her hand or to pay you 5 gold. 

If the opponent gives you a dragon, reveal it so all players can see that it’s a 
weaker evil dragon. 

If the player chooses to give you 5 gold but doesn’t have that much, he or 


15 


she may go into debt as necessary to pay you. 

Since there is no dragon weaker than the strength-1 Green Dragon, when 
its power triggers your opponent has no choice but to pay you 5 gold. 

Gold Dragon 

Draw a card for each good dragon in your flight 

Include this dragon when counting how many good dragons you have 
in your flight. 

You can draw cards only until you have ten cards in your hand 
(see Maximum Hand Size, page 7). 

The Priest 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. You are the leader for the next round of this gambit instead 
of any other player. 

This power affects only the next round of the gambit it’s played in. If this 
power triggers during the last round of a gambit, you still pay 1 gold to the 
stakes but the second part of the Priest’s power has no effect. 

If this power triggers more than once in the same round, the last player to 
trigger it is the leader in the next round of the gambit. 

The Princess 

Pay 1 gold to the stakes. The power of each good dragon in your flight triggers. 

You choose the order in which the powers of your good dragons trigger. 
Do so carefully, because it can make a difference. This power makes the 
powers of all your good dragons trigger, regardless of their strength and 
whether or not they’ve already triggered in this gambit. Follow the 
instructions for each power one at a time until you’ve gone through 
all of them. 

When this power triggers Brass Dragon’s power, if you have ten cards in 
your hand, the opponent may choose to give you a stronger good dragon. If 
he or she does, that player reveals the card and keeps it — you get nothing! 

When this power triggers Copper Dragon’s power, replace Copper 
Dragon with the top card of the deck and trigger that card’s power as well — 
regardless of its strength. The Princess’s power doesn’t also trigger the power 
of a good dragon that replaces Copper Dragon. 

The Princess is the card you played this turn: The next player to take a 


16 


turn this round uses the Princess’s strength to determine whether or not 
his or her card’s power triggers. At the end of the round, if playing another 
round in the gambit, use the Princess’s strength when determining the 
strongest card played in the round. 

If you have no good dragons in your flight, you still pay 1 gold to the 
stakes but the second part of the Princess’s power has no effect. 

Red Dragon 

The opponent with the strongest flight pays you 1 gold. Take a random card from that 
player’s hand. 

This power ignores the strength of your flight. 

You don’t get to see your opponent’s hand before choosing a card. After 
you’ve chosen a card at random, the opponent may see it before you add it to 
your hand. Other players don’t see the card. 

Silver Dragon 

Each player with at least one good dragon in his or her flight draws a card. 

Include this dragon when determining whether or not you have at least 
one good dragon in your flight. 

The player who triggered this power draws first, then the player to his or 
her left (if that player has a good dragon), and so on, until all players with 
good dragons in their flights have drawn a card. 

A player with ten cards in his or her hand ignores this power since that 
player can’t draw any more cards (see Maximum Hand Size, page 7). 

The Thief 

Steal 7 gold from the stakes. Discard a card from your hand. 

When this power triggers, steal gold from the stakes first, then discard 
a card. 

If less than 7 gold remain in the stakes, take all remaining gold in the 
stakes and discard a card from your hand. Emptying the stakes ends the 
gambit (see Ending the Gambit, page 8). 

If this power causes you to discard the last card in your hand and the 
gambit ends in the same turn, don’t buy cards. You’ll draw two cards at the 
end of the gambit. 


17 


Tiamat 

Dragon God — Tiamat counts as a Black , Blue , Green, Red, and White Dragon. As 
long as you have Tiamat and a good dragon in your flight, you can’t win the gambit. 
Tiamat has no power. Its dragon god ability is always in effect. 

Tiamat can be used to complete any color flights that match one of its 
five colors. 

White Dragon 

If any flight includes a mortal, steal 3 gold from the stakes. 

If no flights include a mortal, White Dragon’s power has no effect. 

Three-Dragon Ante in your 
D&D Campaign 

The origins of Three-Dragon Ante aren’t clear. Some scholars believe 
the earliest decks were influenced by dwarven drinking games. Dwarves, 
normally proud of their inventions, deny such claims. They say it’s a human 
game, even if it seems dwarven in origin. 

No race is eager to claim the game’s creation because dragons, as a whole, 
dislike it. Dragons’ attitudes toward the game vary from contempt to mild 
amusement. Rumor has it that good-natured dragons — in human form — 
sometimes seek out games for a variety of reasons. But in most cases, dragons 
pretend the game doesn’t exist. Most everyone who deals with dragons goes 
along with that conceit. Many say that the one thing you’ll never find in a 
dragon’s hoard is a Three-Dragon Ante deck. 

Whether or not they take credit for inventing the game, humans make 
most of the decks in circulation, and theirs is the race most likely to play 
it. Elves find the game a bit crude but will play in the company of human 
friends. Half-elves, on the other hand — even those raised among elves — 
usually love the game. Dwarves like to play but hate to lose — anyone playing 
with a dwarf would be wise to buy a round or two of drinks. Halflings love 
the game and often have appropriately sized decks; for them, playing with 
humans means playing with cards that are too big. Half-ores find the game’s 
frequent reversals of fortune capricious; they tend to prefer games of pure 
luck or brute strength. 


18 


The Vernacular 

Colloquially, many refer to the game by the type of coin players use. 

Peasants play with copper and sometimes refer to the game as copper 
dragon, three-copper dragon, or copper ante. Merchants and crafters play 
with silver coins, while most adventurers play with gold coins and might 
speak of playing gold dragon, three-gold dragon, or gold ante. Nobles, truly 
wealthy merchants, and reckless adventurers might refer to the game as 
three-platinum dragon or platinum ante. 

Below are some other slang terms: 

fat leader: A player punished several times in a row with Red Dragons or 
Brass Dragons after taking the lead. 

inviting the bronze: Triggering the first Bronze Dragon’s power in a 
gambit, leaving stronger ante cards accessible for the next Bronze Dragon’s 
power that triggers. 

playing like a dwarf: Handing over dragon cards when opponents use 
Green Dragons or Brass Dragons on you, because you’re unwilling to part 
with your gold. 

playing the white team: Playing White Dragons after you played a 
mortal earlier in the hand. 

selfish silver or selfish and silver: A player who plays a Silver Dragon 
when he or she is the only player who’ll benefit. “You had your chance,” is 
the traditional response to an irate opponent who has already played a card. 

The Stakes &l Victory 

When played in taverns and dungeon antechambers throughout the 
Dungeons & Dragons world, Three-Dragon Ante often includes an 
additional prize awarded to the winner of the game. Adventurers who can’t 
agree on how to divide treasure might play a few gambits; the winner keeps 
his or her winnings and decides who gets an item when the party can’t agree 
who should get it. 

Special Abilities 

Try these three options if you’d like your Dungeons & Dragons characters 
to play a Three-Dragon Ante game. 

• Use only the normal rules. Each player roleplays his or her character’s 
reactions. This option is best for focusing on your characters’ personalities 


19 


without worrying about how their skills affect the game. 

• Use the normal rules, plus each character uses one special ability from 
the list of D&D skills that follows (if eligible). Before the start of a game, 
choose one skill for each character in which he or she has at least 5 ranks. 
During the game, that character can use the skill’s associated special ability. 
This option allows the characters’ skills to influence the game without 
overshadowing the players’ own abilities. 

• Use the normal rules, plus each character uses all special abilities from 
the list of skills below in which he or she has 5 or more ranks. Of these three 
options, this reflects characters’ abilities the most. Dungeon Masters who 
want to simulate pitting skilled characters against each other should use 
this option. 

Bluff 

“One, two . . . hey, barkeep, more drinks over here . . . four, five” 

Whenever you pay 2 or more gold to another player, pay 1 fewer gold. 

Concentration 

“When things get tense, I’m at my best.” 

Whenever you ante, unless another player’s hoard has less gold than 
yours, pay 1 fewer gold to the stakes. 

Diplomacy 

“This could work out for everyone .” 

Before your turn this round, if you are the leader, you may choose another 
player to be the leader this round instead. (If you weren’t the leader when 
the round started, you can’t use this special ability.) 

Intimidate 

“Don’t even think about it.” 

As long as you and any other player tie for the strongest flight, you can’t 
be chosen as the opponent with the strongest flight. 

Profession (Gambler) 

“I’m just lucky sometimes.” 

After you discard the top card of the deck while buying cards, you may 


20 


discard a second card from the top of the deck. If you do, pay the second 
card’s strength in gold to the stakes instead of the first card’s strength. 

(You can’t choose to pay the first card’s strength in gold if you use this 
special ability.) 

Sense Motive 

“You can hide your cards but not your face.” 

When an opponent plays his or her second card, if both cards are the same 
color dragon, you may look at his or her hand before any powers trigger. 

(If an opponent plays Tiamat and a Black, Blue, Green, Red, or White 
Dragon, you may use this special ability to look at that opponent’s hand.) 

Sleight of Hand 

“If no one sees it, ifs not cheating.” 

After you steal gold from the stakes with a card’s power or a strength 
flight, if the stakes have 2 or more gold, you may steal 1 gold from the stakes. 

Wild Card 

“Trust me, I know exactly what I’m talking about.” 

This special ability doesn’t correlate with a skill. Instead, any dragon 
(or half-dragon, at the DM’s discretion) can select it. 

Once each game, if you played a mortal this turn, you may count the 
mortal as the third dragon of any color only to complete a color flight. 

Glossary 

ante: The cards players reveal at the start of each gambit used to set the 
stakes and determine the leader for the first round. Can also mean “pay gold 
to the stakes at the start of the gambit.” 

color: A dragon’s name includes the dragon’s color. The dragon colors are 
Black, Blue, Brass, Bronze, Copper, Gold, Green, Red, Silver, and White. 

color flight: A flight with three or more dragons of the same color. 

debt: A player goes into debt when that player owes gold he or she can’t pay. 
Players repay as much of their oldest debt as possible until it’s fully repaid, in 
the order debts were incurred. 


21 


discard: Put a card from your flight or hand into the discard pile. 

dragon: A dragon card. Dragons are either good or evil. Mortal cards are 
not dragons. 

flight: The face-up cards in front of each player. At the end of each gambit, 
the player with the strongest flight wins the stakes. 

gambit: A series of at least three rounds to determine who wins the stakes. 
A gambit can’t end as long as there’s gold in the stakes and any flights tie for 
the strongest flight. 

hand: The cards held by a player. Other players don’t see the cards in a 
player’s hand. A player’s hand can never have more than ten cards. 

hoard: A player’s gold. When a player’s hoard is empty, that player must go 
into debt to pay any gold owed. If a player’s hoard is empty at the end of a 
gambit, that player is out of the game and the game ends. 

leader: The player who takes the first turn in a round. The strongest card 
played each round (ignoring tied cards) determines the leader for the next 
round of the gambit. 

mortal: A card that’s not a dragon card. 

pay: Put gold into the stakes or give it to another player. 

play: Put a card from your hand into your flight on your turn. 

power: A card’s ability. When the leader plays a card, its power always 
triggers. Other players’ cards’ powers trigger unless such a card is stronger 
than the previous card played that round. 

round: Each player takes one turn in a round. 

special ability: When playing with Dungeons & Dragons characters, an 
ability granted to a player because of his or her character’s skills. 

stakes: The gold in the center of the table. At the end of each gambit, the 
player with the strongest flight wins the stakes. Emptying the stakes ends 
the gambit immediately. 

steal: Take gold from the stakes, 
strength: A card’s value. 


22 


strength flight: A flight with three or more dragons of the same strength, 
strongest: A card or flight with the highest strength value, 
trigger: Follow the directions of a card’s power. 

turn: A player plays a card from his or her hand into that player’s flight. 
The card’s power might trigger. 

type: The basic card types are good, evil, and mortal, 
weakest: A card or flight with the lowest strength value. 

Questions? 

U.S., Canada, Asia Pacific &l Latin Ame 
www.wizards.com/customerservice 
Wizards of the Coast, Inc. 

P.O. Box 707 

Renton WA 98057-0707, U.S.A. 

Tel: 1-800-324-6496 (within the U.S.) 

1-206-624-0933 (outside the U.S.) 

All Other European Countries 
Wizards of the Coast 
p/a Hasbro Belgium NV/SA 
’t Hofveld 6D 

1702 Groot-Bijgaarden, BELGIUM 
Tel: +32.70.233.277 

Email: custserv@hasbro.be 

Credits 

Game Design: Rob Heinsoo 

Rules Writing: Rob Heinsoo, Robert Gutschera, and Andy Collins 
with Michael Mikaelian 

Additional Playtesting: Alan Comer, Jesse Decker, Mike Donais, Michael Duffin, 
Bretnie Eschenbach, Eric Eschenbach, Lisa Eschenbach, Richard Garfield, 

Robert Gutschera, Nathan Heiss, Mons Johnson, Dave Noonan, Chris Perkins, 

Matt Place, Bill Rose, Bill Slavicsek, Mike Turian, and Rob Watkins 
R&D Leads: Andrew Finch (director) and Paul Barclay 
Editing: Michael Mikaehan and Cal Moore 

Art Direction: Karin Jaques (lead) and Shauna Wolf Narciso 
Illustration: Craig Phillips 
Graphic Design: Mia Brooks and Trish Yochum 

Brand Management: Charles Ryan (lead) and Kevin Wilson 
Production Management: Jane Flohrschutz and Lee Hanahan 

Thanks to all of our project team members and the many others too numerous to 
mention who have contributed to this product. 


U.K., Eire Sl South Africa 
Hasbro UK Ltd. 

Caswell Way 

Newport, Gwent NP9 OYH, UK 
Tel: + 800 22 427276 

Email: wizards@hasbro.co.uk 


Keep these addresses for your records. 


23 


Play Summary 

SETUP 

Each player takes 50 gold and draws six cards. 

STARTING THE GAMBIT 

Each player chooses a card from hand to ante. 

The strongest ante card (ignore ties) determines the leader for the first round. 

Pay the strongest ante card’s strength (include ties) to the stakes. 

PLAYING A ROUND 

The leader takes the first turn. He or she plays a card and the card’s power 
triggers. Play proceeds clockwise. 

The next player takes a turn. If his or her card is no stronger than the last card 
played this round, its power triggers. 

After each player takes one turn, the round ends. 

The strongest card played in the round (ignore ties) determines the next 
round’s leader. 

SPECIAL FLIGHTS 

Color flight: Three dragons of the same color earn a player the second-strongest 
dragon’s strength in gold from each player. 

Strength flight: Three dragons of the same strength earn a player one of those 
dragons’ strength in gold from the stakes and all remaining ante cards 
(up to a ten-card hand). 

ENDING THE GAMBIT 

After three rounds, if any flights tie for the strongest, play another round. Otherwise 
the gambit ends. When it does, the player with the strongest flight wins the stakes. 
Then discard all flights and ante cards and each player draws two cards (up to a 
ten-card hand). 

Emptying the stakes ends the gambit immediately. 

ENDING THE GAME 

Keep playing gambits until someone has no gold at the end of a gambit. The game 
ends and the player with the most gold wins. 


©2005 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., P.O. Box 707, Renton, WA 98057-0707. Dungeons & Dragons, D&D, 
Wizards of the Coast, Three-Dragon Ante, and their respective logos are property of Wizards of the Coast, 
Inc. in the U.S.A. and other countries. All characters and their distinctive likenesses are property of Wizards 
of the Coast, Inc. ® denotes Reg. U.S. Pat. & ™ Office. All rights reserved. PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. 
30095612000001 EN